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Dolan leads towards Fastnet

As the 32 boat fleet ascend the Celtic sea towards the Fastnet, Irish skipper Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-KIngspan) has taken the overnight lead on the first stage of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec from Caen to Kinsale.

Yesterday evening he broke from the peloton at the Scilly Isles and was took the initiative to head north between the Seven Stones exclusion zone to his east and the Scillies to his west whilst most of his rivals opted to keep heading west, passing between the islands and the TSS Scillies South.

Tacking NW at around 0215hrs early this morning he took the lead and is now more than 25 miles NE of the main group with a course which is taking him more directly towards the Fastnet which is still 90 nautical miles to his NW. He has French rookie Benoit Tuduri (Capso En Cavale) in close company, some 0.7 of a mile to his leeward.

Dolan is no stranger to leading on the section out to the Fastnet, on the 2021 race he led the marathon Stage 4 from Roscoff to Saint Nazaire at the Fastnet and in 2020 was first on the approach towards the rock but lost out at the final TSS zone but lost out to Xavier Macaire to round second.

The main group which has been led led since yesterday by Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire) is going well, heading to the SWW looking for the shift to the SW which will allow them to tack northwards towards the famous rock lighthouse. The sailors to the north led by Dolan will get the shift later but will have sailed fewer miles but more directly towards the lighhtouse turning mark.

On the VHF this morning....

Élodie Bonafous (Queguiner - La Vie en Rose) 14th at 17 miles behind the leader: "Happy with my choices"

"We're getting shaken up. I didn't expect there to be so much swell when passing the Scillys. The sea has risen. The wind is not very regular but I am managing to do want to do. I managed to sleep well at the start of the night, and I am awake. We are waiting for a shift in the wind to the left to turn and start heading towards the Fastnet. It's interesting, because Tom Dolan has left us. He took his little backpack, his courage and he left for the other side of he course. The fleet broke up a bit. Let's see what happens. I'm pretty confident in what I'm doing, and happy with my choices. I try to be quick to arrive at the Fastnet with the sunset to take a nice Instagram photo. I thought I was going to pass it again at night and not see it!"